Association, Fragile Settings, Eastern Mediterranean, Europe

ICM and Member Associations Call for Peace and Resourcing of Midwives During Violence in Palestine and Israel

ICM
12 October 2023

Over the past few days, we have watched the escalation of violence and human rights abuses in Israel and Palestine. As International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) is dedicated to the promotion and protection of well-being and health, we condemn the violence and reiterate our commitment to peace and humanity.  

ICM has been in contact with our member associations (MAs) in both countries, the Palestinian Nursing and Midwifery Association and the Israel Midwives Association. Both MAs have described the heroism, dedication and work of our midwife colleagues, who risk their own lives to provide the best care that they can to women and newborns at a time of escalating violence. Both associations have called for support and an end to violence and restoration of peace. 

ICM and its MAs globally stand together to call for an end to the armed conflict and violence, restoration of essential infrastructure, protection and resourcing of health workers and health facilities. We also call for special attention to be given to actions that protect reproductive health, human rights and access to health services. 

Even in the most difficult of circumstances and during violent conflicts, midwives risk their health and lives to courageously continue to provide reproductive health services, especially antenatal, birth and postnatal services to women and newborns. At these times, midwives are themselves victims of conflict, suffering destruction, sexual violence, death, loss of loved ones and trauma, alongside their communities, as they navigate treacherous conditions to provide lifesaving care.  

Violence and war bear a heavy toll on vulnerable civilians, especially women, babies, and families with young children. Care provision for pregnancy or pregnancy complications, birth, postnatal support or care for newborns continues as bombs drop and air raid sirens go off. The absence of proper maternal health services further exacerbates an already dangerous situation, jeopardising the lives of women and newborns. During conflicts, sexual violence, war’s oldest, most silenced and least condemned crime, becomes widespread. Everyday situations, like ensuring cleanliness and dignity during a regular menstrual cycle become difficult or impossible. This is all in addition to the stress, loss and trauma that communities are subjected to. 

Midwifery has always been deeply connected to the pursuit of peace, reconciliation and the protection of human rights. We believe in the power of dialogue, diplomacy, and empathy. We hope that leaders on all sides will come together to negotiate a lasting solution that respects the rights and dignity of all those affected by this conflict. 

We stand with our fellow midwives, healthcare workers, and the global community in condemning the conflict in Israel and Palestine and calling for peace, understanding, and the resolution of conflicts through dialogue and diplomacy. ICM will continue to be in contact with our MAs in both countries, supporting both as we can, and most importantly, urging for peace and the resources midwives need to safely provide the care women, newborns and families need. 

 

Image credit: Anas-Mohammed / Shutterstock.com